The firm’s 2017 Strategic Directions: Smart City/Smart Utility Report notes that fulfilling the promise of a smart city requires the integration of communications technology and increasing stakeholder engagement.
The report addresses the interlocking pieces of the smart city ecosystem and their effects on public safety, sustainability and quality of life. Technology is changing how first responders, government officials, public agencies and transportation fleets operate. Alternative fuel sources and electric vehicle programmes are transforming the movement of people and goods, while smart street systems create opportunities to generate value from existing municipal assets. [Smarter asset management in the data-driven utility]
Utilities are making significant strides in modernising grid infrastructure. Exploring the integration of distributed energy resources (DER) will be key to master planning as more renewable energy makes its way onto the grid.
“Cities are poised to be the centres of technological deployment,” said Fred Ellermeier, vice president and managing director of Black and Veatch’s Smart Integrated Infrastructure (SII) business.
“Many are already driving advancements in intelligent transportation systems and initiatives. They are rapidly moving past pilot phases to use advanced data networks to improve resident experiences across municipal departments and services.”
“Maintaining this momentum, however, will require the ability to see the larger nexus connecting data with critical infrastructure,” Ellermeier added.
Many cities, he notes, have appointed “chief innovation officers” charged with understanding the technology landscape and championing smarter solutions.
Joined up approach
[quote] A company release notes that while municipalities see the benefits of smart city initiatives and will endorse long-term planning, they face financial barriers.
Utilities however, with their vast communications networks and automated systems, are betting on digitisation to deliver reliable and efficient service going forward. Increased network connectivity can help optimise smart grid deployments by allowing for proactive system monitoring.
“Utility leaders are keenly aware that investing in assets that generate actionable data will allow them to ward off obsolescence and improve customer service,” said John Chevrette, president of Black and Veatch’s management consulting business. “Critical to this is the analysis of investments from a cost-benefit perspective, and evaluating customer need to better target investments.”